Current Affairs (4th May 2021)
Increasing demand in MGNREGA
- Demand for work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) 2005 has increased, according to a recent study by the State Bank of India (SBI).
- The demand has increased to 2.57 crore households, 92 per cent higher than 2020 and a record high for April since 2013.
- Around 2.42 crore households demanded work under the scheme in August 2020, which was 66 per cent more than August 2019.
- The large-scale reverse migration from urban employment centres to the hinterland has triggered greater demand under the scheme.
- In reverse migration, migrants move back from the place of their employment to the place they belong to.
- According to the International Organization for Migration, a migrant has been defined as any person who is moving or has moved across an international border or within a state away from his/her habitual place of residence.
- The Covid-19 induced lockdowns in 2020, led people to reverse migrate due to lack of work in the big cities.
- This was the second-largest mass migration in the recorded history of India, after the Partition.
- There is no official data on internal migration or reverse migration at the national level with a single source information centre.
- This sudden mass exodus will have a huge impact on the Indian economy, mainly in the impoverished, rural areas to which most migrants returned with their lives thrown upside-down.
- Rural households will have a few extra members at home who will have to be fed and taken care of and lower incomes could cause stress within households in the high-poverty regions.
- A significant number of the migrants returning home are expected to enter local labor markets, which will likely depress wage rates.
- A large unoccupied workforce entering local labor markets could also take work away from the more marginalized and impoverished segments of the population.
- This could severely impact women-headed households and other vulnerable segments of the local population.
- In states like Punjab and Haryana, on the other hand, a fall in the agricultural labor workforce could make farming an expensive proposition.
- It will also spread the highly contagious virus to the largely untouched villages so far.
- Policymakers should aim to improve rural infrastructure with better agrarian policy which will lead to better harvest and income leading to decongestion of cities.
- It is important to expand the pool of trained doctors accessible to the rural population and make careful use of informal health practitioners.
- Government should launch more welfare schemes like the special employment-cum-rural public works programme called Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan (GKRA) for returning migrants.
- People must not be forced to migrate from rural areas in the first place in search of jobs that are often vulnerable and precarious, while living in inhospitable conditions.
- There is a need to address the small ruminant, poultry, and inland fishery sectors as well, all of which hold immense potential.
- Cooperatives and farmer-producer companies can bring valuable foreign exchange by tapping the export market.
- Additional investments are required in rural India by the government and private sectors.
Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2021
- Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2021 has been recently released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
India’s growth projection:
- India’s gross domestic product (GDP) will rebound strongly by 11.0% in fiscal year (FY) 2021-22 due to continued economic recovery boosted by increased public investment, vaccine rollout, and a surge in domestic demand.
- It forecasts India’s economic growth to moderate to 7.0% in FY2022.
- The economy is expected to have contracted by 8.0% in FY2020 in line with the government’s second advance estimate.
- GDP of South Asia is expected to rebound to 9.5% this year, following a contraction of 6% in 2020, before moderating to 6.6% next year (2022).
- The region’s growth is forecast to moderate to 5.3% in 2022 and most economies in developing Asia will see healthy growth this year and in 2022.
- Excluding the newly industrialized economies of Hong Kong, China; the Republic of Korea; Singapore; and Taipei, China, developing Asia’s economic activity is expected to grow 7.7% this year and 5.6% in 2022.
- China’s GDP is forecast to expand 8.1% in 2021 and 5.5% in 2022.
- It is a series of annual economic reports on the Developing Member Countries (DMCs) of the ADB.
- An uncertain pandemic trajectory with a prolonged second wave of Coronavirus pandemic despite the vaccination push can affect India’s economic normalization.
- The forecast by ADB, expects the economic impact of the second wave to be relatively low compared to the first wave in line with the global experience.
Global Electric Vehicle Outlook 2021
- Global Electric Vehicle Outlook 2021 has recently been released by the International Energy Agency.
- This report is an annual publication that identifies and discusses recent developments in electric mobility across the globe.
- It is developed with the support of the members of the Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI).
- Combining historical analysis with projections to 2030, it examines key areas of interest such as electric vehicle (EV) and charging infrastructure deployment, energy use, CO2 emissions and battery demand.
- It includes policy recommendations for policymakers and stakeholders that consider policy frameworks and market systems for EV adoption.
- Around 3 million new electric cars were registered in 2020, a 41% increase from 2019.
- The sales in the first quarter of 2021 reached nearly two and half times their level in the same period a year earlier.
- Based on current trends and policies, IEA projects the number of electric vehicles on the road worldwide to reach 145 million by 2030.
- For the first time, the 2021 report makes available two online tools,
- More than 30% of new vehicle sales in India will be electric by 2030 (60% of all two/three- wheelers, 30% of LCVs and buses).
- The rate of electrification of buses and light-duty vehicles is lower, below 15% sales share in 2030.
- Challenges:The lack of government spending under the FAME II policy has hindered EV deployment along with a pressure on domestic automakers to focus on BS-VI innovation instead of EVs.
- Measures:Significant acceleration will be required to reach both the programme targets and national targets of 30% EV sales by 2030.
- Several Covid positive patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 symptoms, and some with negative RT-PCR reports but Covid symptoms are coming for CT scans.
- Doctors said that Covid patients with worsening condition in home isolation or in hospital with critical condition are cases recommended for CT scan to detect the infection level.
- If a patient’s oxygen level is going down below 95 during home quarantine or his health is not improving even after a week after coming Covid positive, then such patients should get their CT scan done.
- If Covid patient is in home isolation are doing well then, they should only monitor their oxygen level 5-6 times in a day through a pulse oximeter and if oxygen level is above 96 than he should not panic.
- If a patient is showing mild or moderate symptoms and his report is false,then he/she must home quarantine and keep a tab on the oxygen level.
- A CT scan is also known as computed tomography scan (formerly known as computed axial tomography or CAT scan).
- It is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to get detailed images of the body noninvasively for diagnostic purposes.
- The personnel that perform CT scans are called radiographers or radiology technologists.
- CT scanners use a rotating x-ray tube and a row of detectors placed in the gantry to measure X-ray attenuations by different tissues inside the body.
- The multiple X-ray measurements taken from different angles are then processed on a computer using reconstruction algorithms to produce tomographic (cross-sectional) images (virtual “slices”) of a body.
- The use of ionizing radiations sometimes restricts its use owing to its adverse effects.
- A study published in Geophysical Research Letters of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) highlights that due to the significant melting of glaciers because of global temperature rise, our planet’s axis of rotation has been moving more than usual since the 1990s.
Findings from the New Study:
- The following calculations were based on satellite data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission.
- Since the 1990s, climate change has caused billions of tonnes of glacial ice to melt into oceans. This has caused the Earth’s poles to move in new directions.
- The north pole has shifted in a new eastward direction since the 1990s, because of changes in the hydrosphere (meaning the way in which water is stored on Earth).
- From 1995 to 2020, the average speed of drift was 17 times faster than from 1981 to 1995.
- Also, in the last four decades, the poles moved by about 4 metres in distance.